Guide: Where to eat and drink in North Goa

Goa has been a paradise for travellers through this pandemic and all of us (especially from Bombay) have flocked to the coast for some Vitamin Sea. A popular destination amongst Indian travellers, Goa has seen a flurry of activity in the past few months especially with villa-takeovers by the #WFH generation. Working from the beach > Working from home.

Over the last few years, I have experienced Goa as a local. Not cause I feel like I belong here (I do!) but also because some friends took the plunge and settled into the lesser touristy locales. I've been eating, drinking and living the local Goan life vicariously through them and finally did it myself.

Here's my list of places that are trust worthy, eclectic and give you a true sense of Goa as a local. I've mapped this out for your convenience via Urbanaut so you can eat through this list without running helter skelter (Goa is bigger than it seems). Just download the app and head to this link

(Sorted as per cost for two)

EAT LOCAL

Thali at Vinayak

Vinayak, Anjuna: What's a trip to Goa without a seafood thali? This local joint is always abuzz with locals and tourists. The local chonak (local fish) thali paired with a pint of beer, hits the spot. Get a table in the back area.

Rs 650 for two (without alcohol)

Bhatti Village, Nerul: Not a popular destination but totally worth the drive. Patrick and his wife run their family home as a local family restaurant. Patrick will let you know what's available (we usually go in a group and order everything from the day's menu) and his wife will cook you an exceptional authentic Goan meal.

Rs 650 for two (without alcohol)

Satpurush Hotel, Ashwem: This is a roll up your sleeves and dig in kind of joint. This family run operation has a simple, to-the-point menu with a selection of seafood thalis and fish fry options. The prawn thali comes with clams sukka, rawa fry prawns, fish curry, baby crab curry, green beans with coconut, rice and a banana for dessert. If you find yourself in Ashwem, this is the place to go to before a long lazy day on the beach.

Rs 650 for two

Prawn Thali at Satpurush

Kokni Kanteen, Panjim: This place consistently delivers the best crabs in the city. My go to is the Crab Recheado and Ceradura, but make sure you check with what’s on the day’s specials. They open at 12:30pm so get there ASAP. That stuff runs out in a blink.

Rs 700 for two (without alcohol)

Florentine, Saligao: Florentine is as local as it gets. Always packed with locals, this large parking lot of a bungalow has been converted into a restaurant and bar and serves the best Chicken Cafreal and Poi. Order your pois as soon as you get to your table.

Rs 800 for two (without alcohol)

Bombil, Panjim: Bombil is a hole-in-the-wall in Panjim run by Joseph. 5 tables, a blackboard stating the dishes available that day and super quick service, make this place warm and homely. Rechead bangda thali, rawa fry lepo, Goan sausage pulao and prawn chops - each of these dishes left a lingering desire for more.

Rs 800 for two (without alcohol)

Ritz Classic, Panjim: If you’re a frequent Goa goer, you may have eaten at this legendary joint in Panjim. Known for their crab recheado, crab butter garlic and mussels fry, Ritz is a tightly packed first floor eatery. Make sure to get yourself the Nimbu Soda (with a cherry!) to wash down that rechead masala.

Rs 1000 for two (without alcohol)

Crab Rechead at Ritz Classic

Cantare, Saligao: Monday night blues done right! Head to Cantare around 9pm for some Monday night blues and jazz live music, a little dancing and some simple local and Portuguese inspired food. Go for the balcony seating.

Rs 1000 for two (without alcohol)

Hospedaria Venite, Panjim: In a quiet by-lane of Panjim, take the staircase up to the first floor and get lost in an old world charm at Venite. Graffitied walls contrast the Portuguese house vibe at this hidden gem. Along with local preparations, Venite's highlight is the steak. Currently only delivering but should be back in action soon.

Rs 1000 for two (without alcohol)

Alitia at Darling's, Chapora: So many wanderers from around the world have found their home in Goa. Tara and Kosta are one such passionate couple who bring together the best of Greek Food and high-on-life vibes to the infamous locale of Chapora. The best way to order here is to talk to Kosta (the chef). All their cheese and meats are procured from handpicked vendors around the country and the world. I highly recommend their meat and cheese platter (Spanish ham, parma, smoked choriz and creamy feta are to die for) and hemp flour based GF pizza. 20 gin infusions sit atop the bar run by Razz. The sweet lime gin infusion stole my heart. Don't miss the backroom.

Rs 1500 for two (without alcohol)

Charcuterie Platter at Darling's

Black Market, Panjim: One of my favourite cocktail bars in Goa, Black Sheep Bistro has now relocated and merged with a sister brand to become Black Market. It has a super fun vibe and is great for cocktails and small plates. The Smoked Whiskey Sour, Yellow Submarine and La Vie En Rose (Made with mahua) are top notch. I am not a feni fan but this would be a good place to explore it.

Rs 1500 for two (without alcohol)

Cuebebar, Assagao: This local smokehouse is owned and run by Bunty who worked with the Masterchef trio (George Calombaris, Gary Mehigan and Matt Preston) in Melbourne and moved back to India to open his very own smokehouse (Not tandoor!). Pork Ribs, Chicken Wings and a classic cheeseburger (ahem!) are a must. Wash it down with a Gin Fizz aka Gin Sour.

Rs 1500 for two (without alcohol)

Pork Ribs at Cuebebar

Verandah, Mandrem: This quaint restaurant (7 tables) sits atop a tiny patch of farm land at the end of Mandrem. A shack-like corner represents their gin bar (Gin Joint Goa) run by Rohini. 5 local gins represented by 5 gin cocktails. If you like a little salt like the sea, try the Reverse Manga Gin Martini (With a hint of Mango Feni). Matt and Meghna make you feel right at home. The atmosphere is warm and friendly just like their food. Tiger prawns, drunken clams, ceviche and Goan choriz pizza - we enjoyed it all thoroughly. Make sure to reserve a table well in advance. This was our third attempt to get a reservation.

Rs 2000 for two (without alcohol)

Mezmiz, Penha De Franca

If you're craving authentic Middle Eastern fare, then take a trip to Sangolda where housed in a beautiful Portuguese home is Mezmiz owned by couple - Naazneen and Kush. The market platters are a sneak peek into variety of kebabs, dips and breads (other than the usual hummus and labneh). The cocktails are spot on and go hand in hand with the food.

Rs 3000 for two (with alcohol)

Market Platter at Mezmiz

EAT POPULAR (Yet authentic)

Ham & Cheese Croissant at Baba Au Rhum

Baba Au Rhum, Anjuna: A local haunt that rose to stardom, Baba Au Rhum by Leo is one of the oldest breakfast places. (Oldest as per a millennial's timeline). Their croissants are flaky and warm and always fresh. Pain au chocolat, almond croissant and ham and cheese croissant are my staples. Team it up with an Orange Blush (Strawberry, Apple, OJ).

Rs 800 for two (without alcohol)

Mojigao, Assagao: Bask in the artistic reverie of Artjuna at Mojigao. The open air, jungalow vibe can transport you straight into King Loui's Jungle Book. The Artjuna Toast, Labene platter and Borekas (we tried the mushroom one) would top my recommendations. Pair it with a wholesome smoothie or fresh juice. I got myself a sweet Strawberry juice (Seasonal).

Rs 800 for two

Boreka at Artjuna

Gunpowder, Assagao: One of the most popular places on the circuit, Gunpowder is a lazy long afternoon kinda vibe. With places such as this that serve great cocktails, I always opt for the drinks + small plates menu. The crispy nattoli (anchovy) fry makes for fab chakna.

Rs 1000 for two (without alcohol)

Paloma, Gin Sour New York Style, Cured Mahi Mahi, Roast Beef at Mahe

Mahe, Anjuna: Popular amongst the hipster Bombay and Delhi circuits (Now don't be afraid!), Mahe has an eccentric cocktail menu - I highly recommend the Gin Sour New York Style paired with an excellent small plate selection. The Roast Beef, Cured Mahi Mahi, Prawn fry and the Mahe Prawn Curry topped the list. We missed trying their famous Preserved Aubergine Recheado. (Try it and let me know what you think?) They also have a well curated store. Make sure to check out Studio Kassa.

Rs 1400 for two (without alcohol)

House of Lloyds, Pilerne: Everyone has been to House of Lloyds at least once in their lifetime. This hotspot is known for its Pork Chops (which is phenomenal!) but what really blew my mind was their Miso Prawns and Pork Amsol. Leave some space for their Bread Pudding with a custard filling. The burnt sugar-sprinkled layer of bread on top can make you wetter than the sea.

Rs 1500 for two (without alcohol)

Miso Prawns, Pork Chops, Bread Pudding at House of Lloyds

Roboto, Calangute: There's no reason one should venture into Calangute but Roboto has changed that. An Izakaya and Ramen house, chefs Sanchit and Maia cook up a tight menu of Japanese delicacies (No, not sushi) and an eclectic cocktail list. I recommend Pork Chashu, Chicken Gyoza, Prawn Tempura (That tempura batter is unique), Chicken Katsu and Ramen paired with the Elder 75 (Gin topped with Sparkling White Wine).

Rs 1500 for two (without alcohol)

Tamil Table, Assagao: Tucked in a beautiful Assagao style bungalow, tables are laid out under a bulb-lit sky with banana leaf layered plates. Take a walk into the bungalow to explore Sacha’s Shop which is beautifully curated by Sacha (Her main store is in Panjim, this store has a select range of designs) and to the back of the house where you can get yourself a drink at the bar whilst your food is prepped. They have an exotic cocktail menu. I’d recommend you have a chat with the bartender and let them know your preference of spirit and flavours and allow them to take care of you. I found comfort in their Kaddi Patta G&T. To go with your drinks, I recommend Sweet Potato Fries, Mackerel Vadai and Kadi Patta Prawns. The Pork Chettinadu takes it home.

Rs 1500 for two (without alcohol)

Strawberry Daiquiri at Jardin D'Ulysse

Special Mention: Jardin D’Ulysse, Morjim for live music and strawberry daiquiri.

Also, if you haven't had some fresh Urak in the summers, then you haven't experienced Goa to the fullest.

Some of the best cocktails I've tried in Goa:

Places I haven’t been to but are on my go-to list:

Suzie’s, Assagao

Goa’s Ark, Anjuna

Edible Archives, Anjuna

If you have tried any of these places, do write in and share your thoughts.

North Goa is one of the two districts that make up the state of Goa in India. The district has an area of 1736 km², and is bounded by Kolhapur district andSindhudurg district of Maharashtra state to the north and by Belgaum district of Karnataka to the east, by South Goa district to the south, and by the Arabian Sea to the west.




Write a comment ...

India With Insia

Curated Indian destinations, boutique hotels, regional cuisine and underground culture.